Kenya’s recent decision to grant visa-free entry to all foreigners has sparked controversy, drawing criticism from skeptics who find the move “hectic.” President William Ruto introduced this policy last month with the aim of facilitating visa-free travel within Africa.
However, Kenyan authorities clarified that despite the visa-free provision, visitors are required to obtain electronic travel authorization (ETA). This process involves submitting necessary documents and paying a processing fee of $30 (£23).
Even citizens of countries that previously enjoyed unrestricted access to Kenya are now subject to this requirement. As of Sunday, authorities reported receiving over 9,000 visa applications through the digital platform.
Foreigners are expressing dissatisfaction, asserting that the new policy has led to confusion and increased the challenges and expenses associated with traveling to Kenya.
Renowned Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono criticized Kenya contending “Dear Africans, Kenya is not being truthful when it claims visa-free status it has in fact made travel more cumbersome for Africans who previously didn’t require a visa.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Malawian entrepreneur Jones Ntaukira remarked, “Until 24 hours ago, as a Malawian, I could simply wake up purchase a ticket and fly to Kenya in the afternoon without needing a visa.
Now Kenya has ‘abolished visas’ for everyone, but individuals must pay a $30 travel authorization fee 72 hours prior to travel. What a hassle.”
There are also concerns among some Kenyans, who fear that these stricter restrictions might result in a potential boycott by some foreigners or trigger reciprocal restrictions from other countries.